Shrewsbury School

Summer Gliding Camp

Thursday 20 September 2018

The annual Gliding Camp, held at the Midlands Gliding Club on the Long Mynd and open to all members of the RAF Section of the CCF, was a resounding success, as Flt Lt DM Wray describes.

With the incredibly hot weather in June predicted to continue throughout July, this year’s Gliding Camp was set to be a good one. Only Jack had previously attended one of these camps, so the others had to pick up new skills fast, starting on day one with unpacking the hangar. With up to nine aircraft to remove on a daily basis, and put back again in the correct order and position, this was an early challenge in paying attention and getting stuck in. At least we had a good breakfast first!

Moving the aircraft often requires fairly heavy duty equipment, including jacks, winches (manual and electronic), levers, trolleys and cars. The pupils did well to get to grips with most of these very quickly.

(Above:) Ivan jacking up the T21; (Below:) Theo manoeuvering the K8 out of the hangar

The central activity was, of course, gliding. While training progressed well for all the pupils in the ‘modern’ K13 and K21 gliders, we were all fortunate enough to have a joyride in an almost antique, open-cockpit T21. Despite temperatures in the thirties, I was glad of the woolly hat provided!

(Above:) Grace and Andrew in the T21
(Below:) Milton in the K13; Jasper in the K21

 

The achievement of the week was Jack Li earning his solo gliding wings, which are long overdue as he has been thwarted by weather on a number of occasions.

(Above) Jack on approach; (Below) Just after landing

 

Unfortunately (and probably inevitably at the Long Mynd), there was a day and half where the weather made flying impossible. Despite soaring temperatures, the gliders couldn’t be launched on Monday afternoon or Tuesday due to strong Easterly winds. Therefore, we had to find alternative pursuits. Jack had brought his remote-control drone along, which enabled us to see Shropshire from the air anyway, thanks to its high definition mounted camera. With a range of 7km, and a battery life not much longer, Jack was able to ‘fly us’ to Bishop’s Castle and to Church Stretton without putting down our cups of tea!

On the Tuesday, we visited what remains of Montgomery Castle and continued to Lake Vynwy on our sightseeing tour. Having hired bikes, everybody had a great time cycling a lap of the lake before indulging in some high-quality ice cream in the sun. Ivan (O) delighted in playing the role of Tour de France-style camera man. Jack goes nowhere without his drone, apparently, so we all lined up for a panoramic group photograph, pictured below.

View across the dam at Lake Vyrnwy, courtesy of Jack’s drone. If you look closely, we’re all there!

Evenings were spent in the Club House and garden, playing croquet, frisbee and ‘spoons’ or watching films after lovely evening meals courtesy of the Club catering team or local pubs and restaurants.

In the club house, from left: Ivan (O), Grace (M), Andrew (PH), Jack (Rt), Ivan (SH), Milton (SH), Theo (SH), Jasper (Rt)

 

View West from the Midlands Gliding Club, Long Mynd.

As the sun set on another year of gliding for Shrewsbury School CCF cadets (and quite literally over our evening game of croquet), I was already looking forward to next year! As you can see, this is a truly stunning location for a summer camp and we are all extremely grateful to the Midlands Gliding Club, and in particular to our regular instructor Paul Fowler, for their continued support for our pupils in their gliding tuition and for everything they do both on and off the ground.

Flt Lt DM Wray

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